The recent blast of blazing weather prompts the, slightly
changed, phrase ‘Mad dogs and CRASH employees go out in the midday
sun’. Since CRASH moved to a new HQ on the banks of the River Teme,
lunchtimes have become a free for all on the water’s edge. The worst
perpetrator is Aunt Aggie, long forgotten Mail Order queen (aka Carol Kinsey)
whose idea of a ‘birrovalaff’ is to encourage the sport of
paddling. Then, when her victims are knee deep, she begins to kick, splash,
and throw cups of water over them. I, naturally, have no intention of getting
my feet wet and watch the proceedings from the window. Now you know why I work
from home most of the time! Enough of our goings on, what have you lot been up
to? A bulging mail bag to contend with and a Letter of the Month from Neil
Crittenden who wants more from his Speccy than just Space Invaders!
FUN TO LEARN
I’ve written to you to say ‘well done’ for reviewing an
educational game (Hooray for Henrietta, CRASH 78). I’ve
noticed that there are hardly any educational games on the market. My sister
did spot Fun School 2 which is an excellent bunch of programs. So, a
message to programmers. How about some more of these games please!
A few years back CRASH ran a regular three-page educational
feature called CRASH Course. However, it was stopped as many readers
felt it ate up too much space. Scetlander, producers of Hooray for
Henrietta, were keen that CRASH reviewed Hooray and we were
impressed. I’ve received many letters like yours stating readers’ pleasure
on seeing such a game reviewed. So, from now on, CRASH will be reviewing the
best of entertaining educational games. Look out for Fun School 3
very soon. Maybe that’s one of the titles you can buy with your £40
software voucher — you’ve just won Letter Of The Month!
Is this the dumbest letter you have ever received?
No, your previous letter was worse!
I have a +2A computer and I bought Konami Coin-op Hits. The problem is
I can never get Mikie to load. When it runs the hearts come up on
screen but when I press Enter the screen goes blank. Please can you give me
In any cases where software doesn’t load you should return
it immediately to the place where you bought it. If it is indeed faulty the
shop should offer you a replacement. However, Mikie is such an old
title that you may find it’s incompatible with the +2A.
I think the game Software House on the CRASH 78 cassette was rad and I
wish you would have more games like that in future. How come you always have
games on the tape that I’ve got but never any pokes for games that
Software House, the management style game, received a
good reaction from many readers and we shall look at putting other games of
this style on the Powertape. How’s that for service!
SOUND OF SILENCE
Dear Lloyd, my man!
I am just about to try a karate lesson on my Speccy. I bought it second-hand in
September 1989 and for many months, I had endless hours of fun playing games,
then all of a sudden, kerpow!, the sound went completely. Oi, stop laughing!
(Not a titter — LM). I tried umpteen attempts to get it
back, but this was in vain. I eventually gave up on it and thought, oh well, I
suppose I’ll have to play my games minus the sound.
Then, about a month or so ago, the sound returned, but only for one
evening, then it shut down once more. Maybe you might know how I can get it
Since you bought your Speccy second-hand, I expect you
don’t have a valid warranty. It looks like a job for a specialist repair
shop. In cases like these Video Vault or Bentley Computers
are recommended, their advertisements can usually be found in these pages.
I’ve got two problems:
1. I am writing a fanzine and I need games to review. Should I write to
software houses for games?
2. Is selling a fanzine without a license illegal, my mum says so but I
don’t think so.
Starting a fanzine is a tricky job, but as long as you are
prepared to work hard at it there’s no reason why anyone should not be
successful. However, you will find software houses reluctant to hand out
endless free copies of games until you have produced a few issues off your own
back and can indicate your sales figures. It’s an uphill struggle, but
I would like to make a point to software companies (Ocean and US
Gold). Whenever they make a Speccy game they usually print Amiga or
Atari ST screenshots on the back of the box. A lot of Spectrum games
which cost £10 or more are in black and white. For example: The
Untouchables (Ocean), Outrun (US Gold), Batman
the Movie (Ocean), and Turbo Outrun (US Gold).
I’m not saying all £10 games are in 100% black and white but a lot
of them are. Say someone had a large variety of £10+ games for Spectrum
and he wanted to buy Ocean’s Rainbow Islands for
£10, he’ll think it’s in black and white because the
screenshots are not Spectrum, so he probably won’t buy it. Now,
I’ve got Rainbow Islands and even finished it (thanks to
Pokemania on the Powertape which was stuck on the cover of
CRASH 76). It’s a colourful game when you compare it to the other
£10 games on the Spectrum. I hope that software companies in the future
will be like CodeMasters — who put actual Spectrum screenshots on
The simple answer is just to check out the CRASH reviews and
previews for an accurate illustration of what a game actually looks like. The
problem for software houses, when packaging games, is that there are so many
formats around these days — games are usually released in standard
packaging on the Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga and PC.
And the trend of packaging games in soft-boxes is an expensive one, too
expensive for a special box to be produced for each format. Additionally, the
packaging is produced ages before the game is released as it is a time
consuming job — production of boxes usually begins as soon as some
graphic screens are ready to stick on the box. And more often it’s not
the Speccy shots that are used. In an ideal world screen shots from every
format would be included, but sadly, this does not appear to be happening.
Don’t forget! Send your letters to NEWSFIELD, LLOYD
MANGRAM’S LIVE CIRCUIT, CRASH. You could win £40 of software —
if your letter is either clever enough, or silly enough!
More pleas of help! from readers who are stuck. If we
can’t help! maybe YOU know the answer. Write in if you have any
David Tout is new to the Speccy and loves the cassette, but is a bit stuck
on one point... ‘There is more than one game on one side of the tape.
Could you tell me how to get the next game on the same side?’ Simple!
When the first game has loaded stop the tape immediately. Then, when you want
to play the next game, just perform the usual loading procedure and start the
tape again, this should help you. Ideally, if you’re using a cassette
deck with a built-in counter, note down the number for the point where every
Paul Maggs needs some help with his printer, does anyone have a solution?
‘Can you tell me if the Clive Drive interface is compatible with the
Timex 2040 Thermal printer?’ Paul also asks ‘What is the difference
between the +2 and the +2A?’ Well, Paul, the +2A’s circuit board is
taken from the +3 design (which means some older games may not be compatible)
and the +2 circuit board is that of the original 128K+.
Finally, Robert Davies asks ‘Are there any software packages for my
Spectrum that you can use with a mouse. The only software I have for it is the
AMX Art I had with it. I read in the manual that software would be released
soon, but in total failure I haven’t succeeded in finding any. I have a
Spectrum +2 (cassette).’
Do you know of any mouse driven software? Let us know.
CodeMasters appear to be taking a leaf from
CRASH’s book and are producing a cassette bulging with four great
games! The Quattro series, out now, already has three packs available:
Quattro Power, Quattro Sports and Quattro Adventure,
something for all tastes in computer games.
The four games included in each package are all from the CodeMasters stable
and include some of the best games they’ve ever produced! Quattro
Power has Moto X, Twin Turbo V8, Pro Powerboat and ATV
Simulator — a mixture of excellent and some more mediocre games, but
there’s bound to be something you like. Nick reckons its worth an
overall score of 78%. Next up is Quattro Adventure, wherein lie
some of the best CodeMasters games ever. Just look at this line up: Dizzy,
Vampire, Ghost Hunters and Super Robin Hood; an ideal purchase
for any arcade adventure fan which gets an overall score of 80% from Nick.
Finally, Quattro Sports is one for all you sporty types out
there. In this feast of fun we have four simulators: Grand Prix
Simulator, Pro Ski Simulator, Pro Snooker Simulator and BMX
Simulator. Providing challenge for any sports simulation fans
Quattro Sports is great value tor money. And the score on the
door, Nick? 70%!
Also on the cards for an Autumn release is Gremlins 2
— The New Batch from Elite. Billy, his girlfriend
Kate and the everso cute Gizmo the Mogwai are back in this all
new adventure. An evil scientist has built a huge skyscraper where he conducts
genetic experiments on cute little creatures. Billy and Kate work in this
building and the fun really starts when Billy finds his little pal Gizmo in the
genetic labs. I won’t reveal the whole plot but Gizmo is splashed by
water and the Gremlins are on the loose again. And remember if your
Speccy breaks down you know who to blame!
It’s movie time! Yes, both offerings this month are based
on block-busting releases to come. Mark Caswell reports...
DC Comics, film tie-in, £1.60
Based on the script for the Arnie Schwarzenegger movie
Total Recall, this comic is about ordinary guy Doug Quaid who
after continual dreams of Mars wants to move there but finds his wife not keen
on the idea. Quaid visits Rekall Incorporated, who specialise in selling
implanted memories of holidays never actually had.
The dream trip doesn’t work out, and Doug finds he isn’t Doug
at all, but a secret agent name of Hauser who worked for Mars
Intelligence. A web of defection, termination and double-dealing get
Quaid/Hauser to Mars where events come to a volcanic climax.
The plot sounds and is confusing, and even a read of the comic won’t
sort everything out. This is a case where a film script does not seem to have
translated well into the comic format: the actual movie’s pace will no
doubt hide various holes in the plot — reading the comic is like looking
through a sieve. Get it if you want to spoil the fun of the real thing...
Marvel, £3.60 (import)
Officer Murphy is back on the streets of Old Detroit and
up against the mastermind behind the most addictive drug ever created. The
designer drug is Nuke, the criminal genius Cain. And with the
police force on strike, he and his cult have a field day. Only RoboCop
is determined to face Cain and tracks him down in his lair but is caught and
Meanwhile, efforts to create a RoboCop 2 are floundering in expensive
failures, and city councillors are demanding a new image for the cyborgs:
RoboCops must be nice!
While Detroit teeters on the brim of bankruptcy, and political shenanigans
rage on to privatise it, RoboCop suffers humiliation after humiliation due to
reprogramming, until he finally comes to his own self, finds Cain and meets
RoboCop 2 for a sensational showdown.
Again based on a film script, this is a much more coherent effort, although
the drawing could be better. I think I’d rather wait for the movie!
More comics action next issue!
✮ FAVE RAVES!
Keep sending your entries in for the new Fave Raves section, as
launched last month — here’s the first Fave Rave list from Paul
Tempest. Are these games in your top five? Let us know!!
NEW ZEALAND STORY
Brilliant, cute shoot-’em-up with excellent graphics!
Easy shoot-’em-up, but a good game
Brill music and graphics, but not very easy!
Very easy gameplay with superb graphics and sound!
Best graphics and very playable — the best shoot-’em-up going?!
TURTLES TAKE SPECCY!
Cowabunga dudes! The heroes in a half shell are taking the
country by storm and Mirrorsoft have beaten off some of the other
top software houses to grab the licence for Teenage Mutant Hero
Turtles. The story should be known to all (unless you’ve been on the
moon for the last six months), but in brief four turtles fell into a sewer and
landed in some radioactive slime that changed them into (da da dah daaaa!)
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles! Now they’re human size and have
learned the ways of the Ninjitsu warrior from a rat called
Splinter and given the names of Italian painters. Michelangelo,
Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello now fight evil whereever it raises
its ugly head, especially their arch enemy Shredder and his evil Foot
Clan. Their other passion apart from biffing bad dudes is eating lots of
pepperoni and cheese pizza. Expect to see the game in the late Autumn, and
remember evil moves fast, but good moves faster.
IT’S THE CHEAPEST JOYSTICK IN THE WORLD!!
It’s the Konix Megablaster and indeed, is one of
the cheapest joysticks around! Originally a snip at £6.99 it’s now
even snippier at £4.99, and the microswitch version has price-plummeted to
a mere £6.99! Hurrah! ‘It’s worth its weight in gold, but only
costs its weight in paperclips!’ says the blurb and here’s a piccie
of some scales, a couple of Megablasters, paperclips and some gold to prove the
point. Commenting on the price drop Ashvin Patel, of suppliers
Spectravideo, said ‘The Megablaster truly represents megavalue for
money’. Ho ho.
MOVIES ON THE SPECCY!
Computer/movie tie in
news is rife this month. With a reputed cost of 75 million dollars Total
Recall is the most expensive motion picture of all time. Ocean have
snatched the rights to this surefire blockbuster where big Arnold
Schwarzenegger is an ordinary guy with dreams of Mars who finds that he
doesn’t exist (Erm... Blimey! — Ed) He’s a spy with a wiped
memory, and has to return to the red planet to find out why his memory was
Titus aren’t to be left out of the running either, Disney
Studios have offered them a lucrative deal with two big film licences. The
first in October will be Dick Tracy, based on the Warren
Beatty/Madonna movie. Big Boy and his gang are terrorising your
city, and as the world’s most famous PI you must thwart his dastardly plans. So
don your yellow raincoat and hat and prepare for the battle against organised
crime. Second will be Arachnophobia early next year, a city has been
infested by a plague of intelligent, aggressive and deadly spiders. As the hero
it is up to you to save your family and destroy the spiders. Ugh. Spiders.
YET ANOTHER joystick is on the way from
Spectravideo, but don’t tell Mary Whitehouse ’cos it
doesn’t have any clothes on. Actually the Quickjoy Top Star has a
transparent body, so you can see all the workings. The shaft is a trendy black
beast with two red buttons, one under the player’s thumb and the other
under the index finger. Fast reacting microswitches keep you in contact with
the action, and a stainless steel centre shaft makes sure the Top Star takes
all the punishment you little monsters can dish out. The Quickjoy Top Star
should be available by the time you read this priced £24.95.
As mentioned last month in the Sinclair Survival feature,
CRASH was invited to Paris recently to witness the launch of new
Amstrad product. Was a new Sinclair Spectrum launch to be announced?
Sadly, not. In September, Amstrad is to launch three new machines, based on the
current Amstrad CPCs. There’s the CPC 464 Plus and the CPC 6128
Plus and the big news is that a console, called the GX4000 will also
be available. Amstrad has taken its existing technology and vastly improved
the sound and graphics handling hardware. Games for the GX4000, which are
compatible with the two Plus computers, will be released on cartridge format,
costing around £20 each. The only game seen so far is Ocean’s
Burnin’ Rubber, based on WEC Le Mans, and it’s a
red hot racing game that’s very impressive. If you want to complement
your Speccy, don’t forget to take a look at the GX4000, at £99
including VAT it’s a bit of a snip!
The All Formats Computer Fair looks like becoming a
monthly event! The next one is on Saturday September 1, and as always there are
bargains a plenty to be had! Featuring a SAM Coupé village, the show
opens at 10am and it costs £3 to get in. The place to be is the New
Hall of the Royal Horticultural Society, Greycoat and Elverton St. Westminster,